Still, she’d assumed he’d felt something for her.

Maybe she’d read him wrong. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time she’d been wrong about a guy.

As soon as the meeting was over, Adam turned to her. “Listen, Izzy—”

“Do you mind if I walk Carolyn to her car before we leave?” Sure, she was annoyed with him, but her friend was pregnant. Pregnant!  That took precedence over anything he had to say.

His jaw clenched, but he nodded. “Sure.”

Izzy nearly forgot to breathe as she and Carolyn maneuvered through everyone. A blast of warm air hit them as they stepped outside. “Oh my God! When did you find out?” The words were out of her mouth as soon as the heavy glass door shut behind them.

Carolyn grabbed her hand and tugged her along the sidewalk. It’s not as if anyone could hear them inside, but she obviously wasn’t taking any chances. Once they were a few yards away and close to the edge of the one-story building, her friend dropped her hand and wrapped her arms around herself. “I guess you want to know who the father is, huh?”

“Toby?” The word popped out.

She gasped. “How did you know?”

Izzy rolled her eyes. “Come on. I’m not blind.”

“Do you think anyone else knows?” She placed a hand over her still flat stomach.

Izzy shook her head. “I doubt it. I only know because I know you.”

Carolyn sighed heavily. “Thank God. I actually have a doctor’s appointment I need to get to so I can’t stay and talk, but I promise I’ll fill you in on more details later.”

“Okay. Are you going to tell anyone else?”

“Not right now. In a couple months I’ll have to, but I’m waiting to cross that bridge when I have to.”

“I won’t say anything to anyone. I promise.”

“Even to Adam?” Her friend snickered.

Izzy cleared her throat. “There’s nothing going on between us. Especially now,” she muttered.

“Oh please, I see the way that man looks at you. He’s always staring when he thinks no one else is looking. And he ran off that guy who was always bothering you… What was his name, Mark something.”

“What?” She remembered exactly who Carolyn was talking about, but didn’t know what  she was talking about. There was always a guarantee that some of the male customers would annoy the female employees, but this one guy had been relentless to the point she’d considered talking to Toby about him.

“I can’t believe you didn’t know that. When Adam first started he told that pervert Mark that you were taken and if he knew what was good for him, he’d never come back to the bar.”

“He did that?” Her heart beat erratically. Why hadn’t he ever said anything to her? These mixed signals were going to drive her crazy.

“Uh huh. So, enough with the games. I know you showed up with him today.” Carolyn placed a hand on her hip.

Izzy shrugged. “There’s nothing to tell. He’s apparently leaving in two weeks.”

“Apparently? He didn’t tell you?”

She shook her head and fought the annoyance that threatened to bubble up. She had no claims on him so she shouldn’t have had an expectation that he’d tell her first. “Nope.”

“Well who cares? I know you want him. Why not indulge in a hot fling before he leaves? No complications if things go south. It’s not as if you’ll be working with him forever.”

Izzy bit her bottom lip. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea.

“Oh, speaking of…” Carolyn motioned with a nod of her head.

She followed her friend’s gaze. A few other servers streamed out into the parking lot, no doubt ready to get out of there since they weren’t working. Adam leaned against the brick wall, staring at her. When they made eye contact, he half smiled and her blood temperature spiked about a hundred degrees.

She looked back at Carolyn. “Maybe you’re right.”

“Of course I am. You need to indulge yourself in something absolutely bad. And Adam is just the man for the job.” She fished out her car keys then dropped a quick kiss on Izzy’s cheek. “I’ll call you later, and I want juicy details so don’t disappoint me.”

Izzy made the short trek back down the sidewalk to where Adam stood. “Still feel like getting breakfast?”

The hooded look he gave her told her he’d like to get a lot more than breakfast. Which only confused her. Was that why he’d waited to make a move? Had he known he was leaving?

“Yes. Listen Izzy. I was planning to tell you I was leaving,” he said.

“Whatever. It’s no big deal.” She lifted her shoulders noncommittally as they walked to his truck.

He stopped her with a light touch on her lower arm, forcing her to look at him. “Seriously Izzy. I was going to tell you over breakfast today.”

The brief contact sent shockwaves straight to the growing ache between her legs. She was in trouble. Serious, serious trouble. Now that she knew he was leaving, she wanted him even more.

Her lovers had been few and far between, and she wasn’t passing up a chance to experience a man like Adam Marcellus. She’d have to be certifiable to do that.

Chapter Three

Adam stared at the sexiest woman he’d ever come in contact with and wished he knew what was running through that pretty head of hers. Mistrust was visible on her face, but she was softening up.

After Toby had made that announcement about his move, Izzy had stiffened next to him. The movement had been slight, but he’d felt it, and the message in the set of her jaw had been clear. She was pissed. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, he could read her remarkably well. More than anything, it bugged the hell out of him that he’d unintentionally hurt her.

He hadn’t wanted Izzy to find out this way.

He’d planned to tell her at breakfast. This might not be his real job, but he’d had to give Toby two weeks’ notice. His five week contract was almost up. He hadn’t convinced her to move back to Savannah but she was safe. That had been his main job, to look out for her and make sure she was okay living down here. He couldn’t predict the future, but she was as safe as anyone could be.

Now he really had his work cut out for him with Izzy. Convincing her to move back to Savannah within the next two weeks would use every ounce of his supposed southern charm.

Technically if she didn’t move back, he’d still land the Forester deal, but some part of him didn’t want to go back to Savannah without her—deal or not. When he knew they’d be working the same shift, anticipation would build in him at the prospect of seeing her.

He glanced over at her since she still hadn’t responded. “Well?”

She stood next to the passenger door with narrowed eyes as she studied him. “Okay. I guess I believe you, but you’re buying breakfast.”

He couldn’t bite back a smile at the haughty way she said it. She might want to deny her heritage, but the woman definitely acted like a princess when she wanted. He moved to open the door for her, and leaned close to her ear in the process. “I planned on it, darlin’.”

As he shut the door to the passenger side, he inwardly smiled at how easy it was to draw a blush from her. Izzy’s cheeks turned pink every time he got close. He fought to get his body under control as he rounded the truck. He was the biggest chump in the world for thinking he could get close to Izzy and not get involved with her.

When Edward had shown him his daughter’s picture, he’d known she was beautiful. But beautiful women were a dime a dozen. Especially beautiful rich women. With enough money, anyone could buy beauty.

There was a lot more to Izzy than looks.

Something he’d seen firsthand last night. Not all women would have run at a strange man in an attempt to help a woman they didn’t know. But she’d run headfirst into the situation.

Things could have turned dangerous and if he hadn’t been there, there was no telling what could have happened. Still, he had to admire her reaction.

As he pulled away from Mad Dog’s, Izzy crossed her legs and her colorful dress shifted upward, giving him a better view of her smooth skin. He forced his eyes forward.

Maybe in a different universe he and Izzy could have a normal relationship, but not in this one. She might be working at a bar, but she was out of his league and out of his tax bracket. He’d learned a long time ago how the wealthy thought.

His childhood had been spent living with his th grandmother right on the edge of the 8 Ward, one of the worst neighborhoods in New Orleans.

He’d bought his first gun when he was fifteen, purely for the protection of his household.

Thankfully he’d never had to use it and it wasn’t something he was proud of, but that had been his life back then. Getting a weapon had been necessary because the violence had often spilled over into their neighborhood. He’d been the oldest and it’s not as if his grandmother would have been able to fend for them. She’d been a good woman and had provided a roof over their heads, but she’d been old and frail and stuck raising grandkids instead of enjoying any sort of retirement.

Izzy might be attracted to him, but he wasn’t the kind of man she’d settle for. Something he needed to keep reminding himself.

“Are we eating at the pier?” Her voice brought him back to the present.

“Yeah. Is that okay?” He steered into the parking lot. Aunt Sarah’s wasn’t upscale, but the southern-style food reminded him of home. And he hoped it did the same for her.

Coconut Bay wasn’t a big city compared to Jacksonville, the nearest big city, and there weren’t many places open this early in the sleepy beach town. Next month would be a different story, when the tourist season picked up.

“I love it here.” A faint smile touched her lips as she slid out of the seat.

He inhaled the salty air as they headed up the planked walkway toward the restaurant. When he left here, he’d miss the small town atmosphere, but there wasn’t much room for growth, unlike Savannah which was booming. Even though Savannah wasn’t his birthplace, it reminded him of New Orleans. The cemeteries, the architecture and the southern culture. It was just a lot cleaner and there was less crime. Something he’d adjusted to very quickly.